On-site services: Tailored for high availability.
16. January 2023

On-Site Services: made-to-measure for high availability

  • System operators are relying more and more on warehouse automation providers' on-site services in order to keep their promises to end customers
  • In high-performance logistics, availability determines the success or failure of automated warehouses
  • At TGW, more than 400 experts work to ensure maximum fulfillment center performance

(Marchtrenk, 16 January 2023) More and more, companies are playing it safe and entrusting the technical maintenance of their highly automated warehouses to the system providers, either in whole or in part. They have realized that performance availability is crucial for their overall success. TGW Logistics Group distinguishes itself by tailoring on-site services to each customer's needs.

On-Site Services

In order to help supply chain managers sleep soundly every night (and especially during peak season), manufacturers of highly-automated systems are offering on-site technical operation services. TGW offers a unique range of On-Site Services: Ramp-Up, Maintenance, Support, and Technical Cleaning. Across the world, 400 experienced TGW specialists ensure that distribution centers run smoothly, wherever they are located.

TGW has already implemented more than 1,000 systems around the world and has gained valuable experience not only in planning and production, but also in technical operation. System operators are certainly free to hire their own specialists to keep the equipment running smoothly. "But even experienced professionals often don't have the TGW-specific knowledge that our experts have, nor can they tap into the company's worldwide network," says Georg Katzlinger-Söllradl, Director of Global Lifetime Services at TGW.

Matrix for allocating responsibilities

As managers consider the best way to maintain system up-time, they may ask which on-site service(s) make sense. As Katzlinger-Söllradl points out: "There is no one simple answer to that question. The scope of services depends on various factors, including the customer's size, business focus, and knowledge."

The basis for all decision-making is a responsibility matrix. For each area listed in the matrix, a customer must decide whether they themselves or outside experts will be responsible. The matrix makes it clear who bears certain risks. The less willing the business is to take risks, the more services he should engage externally. Katzlinger-Söllradl notes, "There is a very clear trend toward allocating full responsibility to TGW.” Generally, TGW customers have at least two TGW experts on-site, and in the case of large systems, that number can reach 50 or more.

Whatever the customer's decision: the arrangements made at the beginning of the project are not set in stone, and the responsibility matrix may be adapted as needed. Quantitative or qualitative adjustments, such as the number of tasks or availability, often have to be made to reach an optimal agreement.

Consider technical operation from the beginning

Katzlinger-Söllradl advises companies to start thinking about technical operation and on-site services as early as the purchase decision stage, i.e. long before a fulfillment center goes live: "If our experts are already on-site during construction, they can share their experience and participate in making important decisions, such as the placement of platforms and spare parts storage." This can save hundreds of hours during operation. "Long distances or poor accessibility are major shortcomings during maintenance activities or in case of a malfunction."

Other advantages include the expertise that TGW employees have gained over the years, as well as the global network that they can fall back on. Generally speaking, the technical control of a system requires significantly fewer outside employees than it would in-house employees. This means that cost efficiency is also higher for outsourcing projects. Additionally, TGW offers a price commitment of up to ten years, making it an industry trailblazer.

Ramp-Up-Service

One of the services in highest demand is the Ramp-Up Service, which takes place before system implementation receives final acceptance. The service is a collaboration between TGW technicians, the project team, and the greater TGW Lifetime Services team, and it includes the training of a customer's employees.

Even after the ramp-up phase, many companies count on comprehensive service and leave as much risk as possible to their systems integrator. Through comprehensive worry-free packages, TGW assumes responsibility not only for the operational servicing of the system, but also all maintenance, repair, and inspection tasks. Additionally, on-site technicians look for ways to improve operations and keep an eye on the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Computerized Maintenance Management System

Beyond an experience on-site team, TGW On-Site Services are powered by modern IT tools. TGW uses state-of-the-art software for both Remote Services and On-Site Services. On-Site Maintenance Services, for example, use the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), a software that ensures consistent efficiency. This tool covers the prediction, planning, and evaluation of all maintenance tasks.

In addition to permanent on-site services, which are available up to 365 days a year, temporary on-site services can also be arranged. In order to guard against bottlenecks and shortfalls during peak season or sale days, TGW offers so-called Peak Support. In the run-up to promotional activities, experts can tweak various aspects of the automation, send extra technicians, or move up routine maintenance activities. With a few weeks' notice, it is also possible to make small changes to the material flow and increase the throughput, like, for example, adding an extra workstation for unloading packages from the conveyor system.

Do not underestimate complexity

TGW has gained a great deal of experience over the course of more than half a century. One particularly important insight has been how, all too often, the complexity of automated systems is underestimated. Companies handling the technical maintenance themselves often only save costs early on, and run into unexpected high costs later.  Clearly laying out the responsibility matrix is a great start and often a huge help when it comes to avoiding such mistakes.
 

At a glance: the four TGW On-Site Services

  1. On-Site Ramp-Up Services
  2. On-Site Maintenance Services
  3. On-Site Support Services
  4. On-Site Technical Cleaning Services

TGW press release

On-Site Services: made-to-measure for high availability
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65.8 kB

On-Site Services

Maintenance on a shuttle system
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3.57 MB

Success through teamwork

Close cooperation with the customer
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2.6 MB

Maintenance

on a storage and retrieval machine
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3.45 MB

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